One problem with embracing conspiracy theories is that once they start to unravel there's little chance of salvaging them. Yet that's when true believers, like Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson, usually hold on tighter to the wild schemes.
Pressed about obvious holes in the "liberal media bias" allegation that appeared in the wake of the first presidential debate when President Obama was showered with negative coverage by the mainstream press, Carlson insists the relentless lumps Obama took did nothing to undercut the endless conservative cries about media unfairness.
That just doesn't add up. Then again, Carlson recently made the odd claim that journalists were biased because they weren't interested in the Daily Caller's overhyped and underwhelming "exclusive" story on a five-year-old Obama speech that had already been widely reported on. (Being bored while reading The Daily Caller is a form of journalistic prejudice?)
As for Obama's debate coverage, the New York Times' David Carr pointed out that the media's universally negative response to the Democrat's performance took some of the air out of the "liberal media bias" tires.
Carr's point was that if ever there were a time in this campaign for the so-called palace guard, liberal media protectors of Obama to swoop in and defend their wounded candidate, it would've been in the wake of the first debate. Instead the press collectively clobbered Obama. So where's the proof of left-wing bias that Fox News effortlessly feeds off of?
Carlson emailed Carr this response [emphasis added]:
The lesson is that the press doesn't control poll results. It's possible to get elected even if the media are rooting for your opponent, as both Reagan and George W. Bush proved.
It's also true that reporters get bored with the existing storyline, which until last week was that Romney had already lost. So they welcome a chance to talk about something else.
But none of this proves there's no bias. I don't think any fair person who has watched carefully could claim Romney and Obama have been held to the same standard by the press. They haven't.
Wait, what? The liberal press doesn't control the polls? Didn't we just witness an entire right-wing movement boldly declare that the media do control polls and that's why Romney had been trailing Obama, because the media and pollsters colluded to keep the Republican down? Because there is rampant "media polling bias"?
Indeed we did.
What we have here is a rather comical case of conspiracies colliding. Carlson insists the wave of negative press Obama received after the first debate doesn't help disprove the "liberal media bias" theory (actually, it does), because the coverage was driven by the polls, which the press does not control. Except that one of this campaign season's hottest conservative conspiracy theories centered around the bizarre claim that the press controls the polls.
These are confusing times for "liberal media bias" pushers like Carlson, who seem to be flailing more than ever.